bacteriology

The biology major is designed for students with broad interests in the biological sciences. It is intended primarily to:

  1. prepare undergraduates for graduate studies in diverse areas of biology;
  2. prepare certain preprofessional students (e.g., medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry) for advanced study in the health professions;
  3. provide a broad exposure to biology for students who want a general science education as biologists; and
  4. serve as initial preparation for students who later choose a more specialized major.

The major is offered by the College of Letters & Science and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Students interested in declaring the biology major should set up an appointment to speak with biology academic advisor.  Information can be found at advising.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

Courses may not double count within the major (unless specifically noted otherwise), but courses counted toward the major requirements may also be used to satisfy a university requirement and/or a college requirement. A minimum of 15 credits must be completed in the major that are not used elsewhere. Students must declare the major, complete the common requirements below, and complete the requirements for one of the named options or "no option."

Students must complete a minimum of 31 credits from Introductory Biology, Foundation, Intermediate/Advanced, Seminar (options only) and additional lab/research courses.

Common Major Requirements

Mathematics and Statistics

Select one of the following:5-10
Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I
and Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry II
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 1
Select one of the following: 13-4
Calculus and Analytic Geometry 2
Introduction to Statistical Methods
Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences
1

Students completing the evolutionary biology option are required to complete either STAT 301 Introduction to Statistical Methods or STAT 371 Introductory Applied Statistics for the Life Sciences.

Chemistry

General Chemistry
Select one of the following:5-9
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
Advanced General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry3

Physics

1st semester physics; select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics
2nd semester physics, select one of the following:4-5
General Physics
General Physics
General Physics

Introductory Biology

Select one of the following options: 110-16
Option A:
Introductory Biology
Introductory Biology
Option B:
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics Laboratory
Cellular Biology
Cellular Biology Laboratory
Organismal Biology
Option C:
Animal Biology
Animal Biology Laboratory
General Botany
Foundational Course 2
Select one of the following:3
Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics
and Cellular Biology 3
Plant Breeding and Biotechnology
Principles of Genetics
General Genetics 2
Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines
Introduction to Biochemistry
General Biochemistry II
1

For AP Biology policy, as it applies to introductory biology in the biology major, see this link.

2

Does not count toward intermediate/advanced courses. Students completing the evolutionary biology option must complete either GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics or GENETICS 468 General Genetics 2 to fulfill the Foundation requirement. Students completing the plant biology option are not allowed to take MICROBIO 470 Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines to fulfill the Foundation requirement.

3

Students may use BIOCORE 381 Evolution, Ecology, and Genetics and BIOCORE 383 Cellular Biology to contribute to introductory biology and satisfy foundation.

Additional lab or Field Research

Select one of the following options:

  1. Take an additional lab or field instruction from categories A–E in the Intermediate/Advanced course lists.
  2. Complete a directed study in a biological science discipline.1
  3. Complete a thesis in biological science.1
1

 Must complete Introductory Biology prior to enrolling in either a directed study or thesis. Select an appropriate course in consultation with advisor.

Options in the Major

In addition to the common requirements, students must complete one of the options below. A minimum of 13 intermediate/advanced credits from the lists provided are required, which must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.

1

Note: Admission to the biology major with a neurobiology option is suspended. The College of Letters & Science now offers a neurobiology major. Students already declared for the biology major with a neurobiology option are allowed to continue in the program; they must complete the program no later than August 2019. 


Students who have declared the biology major–neurobiology option may cancel the major and declare the new neurobiology major, provided it does not extend their time to degree. Students should  consult with an advisor in the new neurobiology major to determine which program is best for them.  

Students may not double-major in any biology major option and the neurobiology major.

Biology Major–No Option

Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required and must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.
Select one course from categories A or B below.
Select one course from categories C or D below.
Select one course from category E or from an unused category above.

A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology

B. Organismal Biology

C. Ecology

D. Evolution and Systematics

E.  Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Evolutionary Biology Option

Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required and must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.

Students must take ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology. In addition, select one course from categories A or B below. Select one course from category C. Select one course from category D. Additional courses can be taken from "A–E" to satisfy the lab and/or 31 credit requirement.

A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology

B. Organismal Biology

C. Ecology

D. Evolution and Systematics

E.  Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

Seminar

Undergradute Evolution Seminar (1 cr minimum)
BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Evolution Seminar Series-Undergraduate1

Neurobiology Option

Note: Admission to the biology major with a neurobiology option is suspended. The College of Letters & Science now offers a neurobiology major.  Students already declared for the biology major with a neurobiology option are allowed to continue in the program; they must complete the program no later than August 2019. 


Students who have declared the biology major–neurobiology option may cancel the major and declare the new neurobiology major, provided it does not extend their time to degree. Students should  consult with an advisor in the new neurobiology major to determine which program is best for them.  

Students may not double-major in any biology major option and the neurobiology major.

Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required and must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.
Students must complete 1. ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology and 2. either ZOOLOGY/​NTP/​PHYSIOL/​PSYCH  524 Neurobiology II: An Introduction to the Brain and Behavior or PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience.
In addition, select one course from category A. Select one course from category B. Select one course from categories C or D below. Additional courses can be taken from "A–F" to satisfy the lab and/or 31-credit requirement.

A. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHYSIOL  625 Brain Cell Cultures and Imaging: A Lab Course 14
NTP/​PHMCOL-M/​PHYSIOL  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
NTP/​NEURODPT/​PHYSIOL/​ZOOLOGY  616 Lab Course in Neurobiology and Behavior 14
NTP/​PHYSIOL  629 Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Memory3
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  635 Neurobiology of Disease2
NTP 655 Modeling Neurodevelopmental Disease3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Molecular Mechanisms of Brain Damage)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Reproductive Neuroencrinology)1-3
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Epigenetics & the Brain)3
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Neuropharmacology)3
ZOOLOGY 400 Topics in Biology 21-3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology 13
ZOOLOGY 604 Computer-based Gene and Disease/Disorder Research Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 625 Development of the Nervous System2
ZOOLOGY/​NTP  635 Neurobiology of Disease2
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

2

Approved topic: General Molecular Biology, offered spring 2016 and spring 2017

B. Systems Neurobiology

ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHMCOL-M/​PHYSIOL/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHYSIOL  630 Neuronal Mechanisms for Sensation and Memory in Cerebral Cortex3
CS&D 210 Neural Basis of Communication3
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing and Language3
ED PSYCH 326 Mind, Brain and Education3
KINES 531 Neural Control of Movement3
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  620 Neuroethology Seminar2
NTP 675 Special Topics (Functional Brain Imagingof Cognitive Disorders)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Basic Sleep Mechanisms & Sleep Disorders)1-3
PSYCH 406 Psychology of Perception3-4
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Cognition & Emotion: Cognitive Affective Neuroscience)3
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Neuroeconomics)3
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology (Neural Basis of Cognitive Control)3
PSYCH 414 Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 504 Affective Neuroscience4
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

C. Ecology

D. Evolution and Systematics

E. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

F. Other Lab Courses

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I 14
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering 14
ANATOMY/​KINES  329 Human Anatomy-Kinesiology 12
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin 13
AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology 13
BIOCORE 486 Organismal Biology Laboratory 12
BIOCHEM 551 Biochemical Methods 14
BMOLCHEM 504 Human Biochemistry Laboratory 12
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy 14
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution 14
BOTANY 330 Algae 13
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology 12
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology 13-4
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​HORT  561 Introductory Cytogenetics 12-3
DY SCI 305 Lactation Physiology 13
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology 14
ENTOM 331 Taxonomy of Mature Insects 14
KINES 314 Physiology of Exercise 14
KINES 338 Human Anatomy Laboratory 12
GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory 12
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  542 Invertebrate Paleontology3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory 12
MICROBIO/​BIOLOGY  525 Advanced Biological Laboratory Practices: A Research Experience 12
MICROBIO 551 Physiological Diversity of Procaryotes Laboratory 12
PHM SCI 558 Laboratory Techniques in Pharmacology and Toxicology 12
PHYSIOL 335 Physiology 15
PHYSIOL 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 15
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens 13
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 15
ZOOLOGY 612 Comparative Physiology Laboratory 12
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

Seminar

Undergradute Neurobiology Seminar
ZOOLOGY 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar1

Plant Biology Option

Intermediate/Advanced Courses

Minimum of 13 credits required and must include one approved lab course. Approved lab courses are indicated by footnote.
Select one course from categories A or B below. Select one course from categories C or D below. Select one course from category E or from an unused category above.

 A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology

AGRONOMY/​HORT  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I 14
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering 14
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 507 General Biochemistry I3
BIOCHEM 508 General Biochemistry II3-4
BIOCHEM/​BOTANY  621 Plant Biochemistry3
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​PL PATH  505 Plant-Microbe Interactions: Molecular and Ecological Aspects3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​HORT  561 Introductory Cytogenetics2-3
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 467 General Genetics 13
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

B. Organismal Biology

BIOCORE 486 Organismal Biology Laboratory 12
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy 14
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution 14
BOTANY 330 Algae 13
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology 12
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology 13-4
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology 14
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens 13
1

 Courses also approved for lab credit

C. Ecology

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  450 Midwestern Ecological Issues: A Case Study Approach2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology 14
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology 14
1

 Courses also approved for lab credit

D. Evolution and Systematics

ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics 14
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY 563 Phylogenetic Analysis of Molecular Data3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  629 Evolutionary Genetics3
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23
1

 Courses also approved for lab credit

E. Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources

A A E/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY 302 Forage Management and Utilization3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  360 Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy2
AGRONOMY 377 Cropping Systems of the Tropics3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
AMER IND/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  474 Ethnobotany3-4
BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Evolution Seminar Series-Undergraduate1
BOTANY 403 Field Collections and Identification1-4
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  459 Ecological Techniques for Field Monitoring1-2
F&W ECOL/​HORT/​LAND ARC/​PL PATH  309 Diseases of Trees and Shrubs3
F&W ECOL 410 Principles of Silviculture3
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
GENETICS/​HORT  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
GENETICS/​MD GENET  677 Advanced Topics in Genetics 1, 21-3
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I 13
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT 372 Colloquium in Organic Agriculture1
HORT 376 Tropical Horticultural Systems1
HORT 378 Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study2
HORT/​PATH-BIO  500 Molecular Biology Techniques 13
LACIS 440 Topics in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies1-4
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
PL PATH 517 Plant Disease Resistance2-3
ZOOLOGY 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar1
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

2

Approved topic: Evolutionary Systems Biology

Seminar

Undergradute Plant Science Seminar (1 cr minimum)
PL PATH 375 Special Topics (Frontiers in Plant Biology)1-4

Intermediate/Advanced Course Lists

The course lists below are shared between two or more options in the major. See the option requirements (above) regarding the number of courses needed from each list or set of lists.

A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology (Biology Major–No Option; Evolutionary Biology Option)

AGRONOMY/​HORT  338 Plant Breeding and Biotechnology3
BOTANY/​AGRONOMY/​HORT  339 Plant Biotechnology: Principles and Techniques I 14
AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​HORT  340 Plant Cell Culture and Genetic Engineering 14
ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHYSIOL  625 Brain Cell Cultures and Imaging: A Lab Course 14
AN SCI/​DY SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 507 General Biochemistry I3
BIOCHEM 508 General Biochemistry II3-4
BIOCHEM/​NUTR SCI  510 Biochemical Principles of Human and Animal Nutrition3
BIOCHEM 551 Biochemical Methods 14
BIOCHEM/​M M & I  575 Biology of Viruses2
BIOCHEM 601 Protein and Enzyme Structure and Function2
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MICROBIO  612 Prokaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  620 Eukaryotic Molecular Biology3
BIOCHEM/​BOTANY  621 Plant Biochemistry3
BIOCHEM 625 Coenzymes and Cofactors in Enzymology2
BIOCHEM/​PHMCOL-M/​ZOOLOGY  630 Cellular Signal Transduction Mechanisms3
BMOLCHEM 314 Introduction to Human Biochemistry3
BMOLCHEM 504 Human Biochemistry Laboratory 12
BMOLCHEM/​MICROBIO  668 Microbiology at Atomic Resolution3
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​PL PATH  505 Plant-Microbe Interactions: Molecular and Ecological Aspects3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​HORT  561 Introductory Cytogenetics2-3
DY SCI/​AN SCI  362 Veterinary Genetics2
GENETICS 466 Principles of Genetics3
GENETICS 467 General Genetics 13
GENETICS/​MD GENET/​ZOOLOGY  562 Human Cytogenetics2
GENETICS/​MICROBIO  607 Advanced Microbial Genetics3
GENETICS/​MD GENET  677 Advanced Topics in Genetics 21-3
MICROBIO 470 Microbial Genetics & Molecular Machines3
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  523 Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry3
MICROBIO/​M M & I/​PATH-BIO  528 Immunology3
MICROBIO 551 Physiological Diversity of Procaryotes Laboratory 12
MICROBIO/​ONCOLOGY/​PL PATH  640 General Virology-Multiplication of Viruses3
M M & I 341 Immunology3
NEURODPT/​NTP/​PHYSIOL/​ZOOLOGY  616 Lab Course in Neurobiology and Behavior 14
NTP/​PHMCOL-M/​PHYSIOL  610 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience4
NTP/​PHYSIOL  629 Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Memory3
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  635 Neurobiology of Disease2
NTP 655 Modeling Neurodevelopmental Disease3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Stem Cell in Neurobiology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Reproductive Neuroendocrinology)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Molecular Mechanisms of Brain Damage)1-3
PHM SCI 558 Laboratory Techniques in Pharmacology and Toxicology 12
PHYSIOL 533 Molecular Physiology2
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology3
ZOOLOGY 470 Introduction to Animal Development3
ZOOLOGY/​PSYCH  523 Neurobiology3
ZOOLOGY 555 Laboratory in Developmental Biology3
ZOOLOGY 570 Cell Biology3
ZOOLOGY 604 Computer-based Gene and Disease/Disorder Research Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 625 Development of the Nervous System2
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

2

Approved topic: Developmental Genetics for Conservation

B. Organismal Biology (Biology Major–No Option; Evolutionary Biology Option)

ANATOMY/​KINES  329 Human Anatomy-Kinesiology 12
ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHMCOL-M/​PHYSIOL/​PSYCH  611 Systems Neuroscience4
ANATOMY/​NTP/​PHYSIOL  630 Neuronal Mechanisms for Sensation and Memory in Cerebral Cortex3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  373 Animal Physiology3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  434 Reproductive Physiology 13
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  520 Ornithology3
AN SCI/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  521 Birds of Southern Wisconsin 13
ANTHRO/​NTP/​PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  619 Biology of Mind3
BIOCORE 486 Organismal Biology Laboratory 12
BOTANY 300 Plant Anatomy 14
BOTANY 330 Algae 13
BOTANY/​PL PATH  332 Fungi 14
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  402 Dendrology 12
BOTANY 500 Plant Physiology 13-4
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech, Hearing and Language3
DY SCI 305 Lactation Physiology 13
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  302 Introduction to Entomology 14
ENTOM 321 Physiology of Insects3
ENTOM 331 Taxonomy of Mature Insects 14
F&W ECOL 401 Physiological Animal Ecology3
GENETICS 545 Genetics Laboratory 12
GENETICS/​MD GENET  565 Human Genetics3
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  542 Invertebrate Paleontology3
KINES 314 Physiology of Exercise 14
KINES 337 Human Anatomy3
KINES 338 Human Anatomy Laboratory 12
KINES 721 Neural Basis for Movement3
MICROBIO 303 Biology of Microorganisms3
MICROBIO 304 Biology of Microorganisms Laboratory 12
MICROBIO 330 Host-Parasite Interactions3
MICROBIO/​BIOLOGY  525 Advanced Biological Laboratory Practices: A Research Experience 12
MICROBIO 526 Physiology of Microorganisms3
M M & I 301 Pathogenic Bacteriology2
M M & I/​ENTOM/​PATH-BIO/​ZOOLOGY  350 Parasitology3
M M & I 410 Medical Mycology2
NTP/​PHYSIOL/​PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  524 Neurobiology II: An Introduction to the Brain and Behavior3
NTP/​ZOOLOGY  620 Neuroethology Seminar2
NTP 675 Special Topics (Basic Sleep Mechanisms & Sleep Disorders)1-3
NTP 675 Special Topics (Functional Brain Imaging of Cognitive Disorders)1-3
NUTR SCI 431 Nutrition in the Life Span3
NUTR SCI 631 Clinical Nutrition4
NUTR SCI/​PHM PRAC  672 Herbals, Homeopathy, and Dietary Supplements2-3
ONCOLOGY 401 Introduction to Experimental Oncology2
PATH 404 Pathophysiologic Principles of Human Diseases3
PHYSIOL 335 Physiology 15
PHYSIOL 435 Fundamentals of Human Physiology 15
PL PATH 558 Biology of Plant Pathogens 13
PSYCH 406 Psychology of Perception3-4
PSYCH 601 Current Topics in Psychology3
PSYCH 414 Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 454 Behavioral Neuroscience3
PSYCH 556 Hormones and Behavior3
ZOOLOGY 303 Aquatic Invertebrate Biology3
ZOOLOGY 400 Topics in Biology (Mammalogy)1-3
ZOOLOGY 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 15
ZOOLOGY 603 Endocrinology3-4
ZOOLOGY 611 Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology3
ZOOLOGY 612 Comparative Physiology Laboratory 12
1

 Courses also approved for lab credit

C. Ecology (Biology Major–No Option; Evolutionary Biology Option; Neurobiology Option)

AGRONOMY/​BOTANY/​SOIL SCI  370 Grassland Ecology3
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  632 Ecotoxicology: The Chemical Players1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  633 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Individuals1
AGRONOMY/​ENTOM/​F&W ECOL/​M&ENVTOX  634 Ecotoxicology: Impacts on Populations, Communities and Ecosystems1
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  450 Midwestern Ecological Issues: A Case Study Approach2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL  455 The Vegetation of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  459 Ecological Techniques for Field Monitoring1-2
BOTANY/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  460 General Ecology 14
BOTANY/​ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  473 Plant-Insect Interactions3
BOTANY/​ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  651 Conservation Biology3
ENTOM 450 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology3
ENTOM 451 Basic and Applied Insect Ecology Laboratory1
ENVIR ST/​ZOOLOGY  315 Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources2
ENVIR ST/​LAND ARC  361 Wetlands Ecology3
F&W ECOL 379 Principles of Wildlife Management3
F&W ECOL 550 Forest Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​LAND ARC/​ZOOLOGY  565 Principles of Landscape Ecology2
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  660 Climate Change Ecology3
PL PATH 300 Introduction to Plant Pathology 14
ZOOLOGY 316 Laboratory for Limnology-Conservation of Aquatic Resources 12-3
ZOOLOGY 504 Modeling Animal Landscapes3-5
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  510 Ecology of Fishes3
ZOOLOGY/​ENVIR ST  511 Ecology of Fishes Lab 12
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

D. Evolution and Systematics (Biology Major–No Option; Evolutionary Biology Option; Neurobiology Option)

ANTHRO 302 Hominoid Evolution3
ANTHRO 304 Heredity, Environment and Human Populations3
ANTHRO/​BOTANY/​ZOOLOGY  410 Evolutionary Biology3
ANTHRO 411 The Evolution of the Genus, Homo3
ANTHRO 458 Primate Behavioral Ecology3
ANTHRO 603 Seminar in Evolutionary Theory3
ANTHRO 658 Ecological Models of Behavior3
BOTANY 305 Plant Morphology and Evolution 14
BOTANY 400 Plant Systematics 14
BOTANY 401 Vascular Flora of Wisconsin 14
BOTANY 422 Plant Geography3
BOTANY 563 Phylogenetic Analysis of Molecular Data3
BOTANY/​GENETICS/​MD GENET  629 Evolutionary Genetics3
ENTOM 432 Taxonomy and Bionomics of Immature Insects 14
ENTOM/​GENETICS/​ZOOLOGY  624 Molecular Ecology3
ENVIR ST/​F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  360 Extinction of Species3
GENETICS 468 General Genetics 23
GEOSCI/​ZOOLOGY  541 Paleobiology3
MICROBIO 450 Diversity, Ecology and Evolution of Microrrganisms2
PSYCH 449 Animal Behavior3
PSYCH 450 Primates and Us: Insights into Human Biology and Behavior3
PSYCH/​ZOOLOGY  550 Animal Communication and the Origins of Language3
ZOOLOGY 300 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution3
ZOOLOGY 301 Invertebrate Biology and Evolution Lab 12
ZOOLOGY 425 Behavioral Ecology3
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

E.  Applied Biology, Agriculture and Natural Resources (Biology Major–No Option; Evolutionary Biology Option; Neurobiology Option)

A A E/​AGRONOMY/​INTER-AG/​NUTR SCI  350 World Hunger and Malnutrition3
AGRONOMY 300 Cropping Systems3
AGRONOMY 302 Forage Management and Utilization3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  360 Genetically Modified Crops: Science, Regulation & Controversy2
AGRONOMY 377 Cropping Systems of the Tropics3
AGRONOMY/​HORT  501 Principles of Plant Breeding3
AMER IND/​ANTHRO/​BOTANY  474 Ethnobotany3-4
AN SCI/​DY SCI/​NUTR SCI  311 Comparative Animal Nutrition3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  313 Animal Feeds and Diet Formulation1
AN SCI/​DY SCI  320 Animal Health and Disease Management3
AN SCI/​DY SCI  361 Introduction to Animal and Veterinary Genetics2
AN SCI/​DY SCI  363 Principles of Animal Breeding2
AN SCI 503 Avian Physiology 13
AN SCI 512 Management for Avian Health 13
BIOCORE 587 Biological Interactions3
BIOLOGY/​GENETICS  522 Evolution Seminar Series-Undergraduate1
BOTANY 403 Field Collections and Identification1-4
ENTOM 351 Principles of Economic Entomology3
ENTOM/​ZOOLOGY  371 Medical Entomology 13
ENTOM/​F&W ECOL  500 Insects in Forest Ecosystem Function and Management2
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  471 Introduction to Environmental Health3
ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  502 Air Pollution and Human Health3
F&W ECOL 306 Terrestrial Vertebrates: Life History and Ecology 14
F&W ECOL/​HORT/​LAND ARC/​PL PATH  309 Diseases of Trees and Shrubs3
F&W ECOL 318 Principles of Wildlife Ecology3
F&W ECOL/​ZOOLOGY  335 Human/Animal Relationships: Biological and Philosophical Issues3
F&W ECOL 410 Principles of Silviculture3
F&W ECOL 415 Tree Physiology3
F&W ECOL/​SURG SCI  548 Diseases of Wildlife3
F&W ECOL 561 Wildlife Management Techniques 13
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  324 Food Microbiology Laboratory 12
FOOD SCI/​MICROBIO  325 Food Microbiology3
FOOD SCI 532 Integrated Food Manufacturing 14
GENETICS/​HORT  550 Molecular Approaches for Potential Crop Improvement3
GENETICS/​MD GENET  677 Advanced Topics in Genetics 1, 21-3
HORT/​LAND ARC  263 Landscape Plants I 13
HORT 370 World Vegetable Crops3
HORT 372 Colloquium in Organic Agriculture1
HORT 376 Tropical Horticultural Systems1
HORT 378 Tropical Horticultural Systems International Field Study2
HORT/​PATH-BIO  500 Molecular Biology Techniques 13
LACIS 440 Topics in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies1-4
MEDICINE/​M&ENVTOX/​ONCOLOGY/​PATH/​PHM SCI/​PHMCOL-M/​POP HLTH  625 Toxicology I3
M M & I 554 Emerging Infectious Diseases and Bioterrorism2
MICROBIO/​SOIL SCI  425 Environmental Microbiology3
NUTR SCI 332 Human Nutritional Needs3
PL PATH/​SOIL SCI  323 Soil Biology3
PL PATH 517 Plant Disease Resistance2-3
SOIL SCI 321 Soils and Environmental Chemistry3
ZOOLOGY 500 Undergraduate Neurobiology Seminar1
1

Courses also approved for lab credit

2

Approved topic: Evolutionary Systems Biology

Residence and Quality of Work

2.000 GPA in all major courses

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence 1

15 credits in the major, taken on the UW–Madison campus

1

Courses with intermediate or advanced level are considered upper level in this major.

Honors in the Major

Once students have declared the biology major and before enrolling in the Senior Honors Thesis, they may apply to pursue Honors in the Major. In addition to completing and submitting the Honors in the Major Declaration Form, the student must produce a two- to three-page, double-spaced thesis proposal that briefly introduces the biological problem and then describes the line of experimentation that is proposed for the thesis work. The student and faculty mentor must sign the proposal before it is submitted to the Biology Major Office.

Honors in the Biology Major Requirements1

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Biology students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 university GPA
  • Earn a 3.300 GPA in the major/subject
  • Complete 13 credits of Foundation, and/or intermediate/advanced courses for honors.
  • Complete an approved two-semester Senior Honors Thesis for a total of 6 credits.
1

Plant biology option must choose from intermediate/advanced courses listed under the plant biology option and should consult with their advisor about the Senior Thesis options.

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Graduates will know and understand core concepts that unify the breadth of biological sciences:
    1. Evolution - The diversity of life evolved over time by processes of mutation, selection, and genetic change.
    2. Structure and Function - Basic units of structure define the function of all living things.
    3. Information flow, exchange, and storage - The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context.
    4. Pathways for transformations of energy and matter - Biological systems grow and change by processes based upon chemical transformation pathways and are governed by the laws of thermodynamics.
    5. Systems - Living systems are interconnected and interacting.
  2. Graduates will be able to demonstrate practical skills of a professional biologist:
    1. Problem‐solving by engaging the process of science:
      1. Developing hypotheses and aligning appropriate methodologies.
      2. Using biological knowledge/concepts to solve problems.
      3. Integrating disparate information.
    2. Written and verbal proficiency.
    3. Laboratory skills.
    4. Quantitative analysis skills.
    5. Teamwork skills.
  3. Graduates will be able to engage and make broader connections to other scientific disciplines and society.

Advising

Your advisor is here to guide you through the biology major. We can address your questions and concerns, provide advice, help you create a four-year degree plan that meets your major and professional goals, and connect you to resources. It is important to remember that advising is about the process, and some questions do not have a quick and easy answer. Your advisor will challenge you to self-reflect, to critically think about your goals and strategies, and to develop decision-making skills. For more information about what to expect during your advising appointment, visit UW Undergraduate Advising.

In the biology major, students are assigned to an adviser according to last name. Please visit us here to schedule an advising appointment.

Careers

The biology major encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with the L&S Career Services office to help you leverage the academic skills learned in your major and liberal arts degree, explore and try out different career paths, participate in internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

Letters & Science graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.

Career Resources:

Advising Leadership and Staff

Harris-Johnson, Kelley, Program Manager
Asen, Brian
Courtenay, Todd
Haas-Gallo, Erica
Smith, Mary

Biology Major Administration

Fernandez, Donna, L&S Co-Chair
Wassarman, Karen, CALS Co-Chair
Perna, Nicole, Evolutionary Biology Option Representative
Johnson, Steven M., Neurobiology Option Representative
Goldman, Irwin, Plant Biology Option Representative
Blair, Seth
Gilroy, Simon
Boekhoff-Falk, Grace
Harris, Michelle
Rouse, Doug
Kurtz, Robin, ex-officio
Thoma, Sharon, ex-officio
Harris-Johnson, Kelley, ex-officio